For 101 years the Ashland Alliance and our former organizations have served the business community of Boyd and Greenup Counties. This organization has been lead by the names of Ashland Oil, Marathon, King’s Daughters, Armco Steel and all the businesses that have built this community over the decades. It is our honor to continue this work and to lay the foundation for tomorrow. Many times, the work it takes to build a new economy goes unnoticed. If it doesn’t make the headline of the paper or local TV, it doesn’t make the cut for our busy lives.

Today was the start of the 40th year the Ashland Alliance has run the Community Leadership Development Program(CLD). Over 2,000 graduates have learned more about the community and themselves. They have built strong networks since 1979. One of the most amazing features of the program is the number of people who want to help run it and pass along the experience they had in their class. Today over 50 people came together to help plan this year’s class. All volunteers that have graduated CLD know the value of what it offers the individual and the community. This is how we build from within. This is how we help you grow a new generation of leaders in your business and the community.

Our Youth Leadership Class is also underway. We partner with the seven school districts in Boyd and Greenup Counties in the selection of 38 high school juniors for a leadership program that explores types of leadership, what makes a leader, and what their community looks like today. We get a fun group of young adults that can change the world. I had the pleasure of speaking before this group on their local government day in Ashland. I spoke for 30 minutes-possibly 20 minutes too long-telling them how they can change the world and how they are coming of age in an excellent time for opportunity in their area.

Our Alliance does many things to help the community and your business every week. At times I report on new things, maybe too much, and not the nuts and bolts that make a difference to you today. I wanted to highlight the work of the staff and volunteers that work usually under the radar to make things better in our community.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with each one of you and help make our region the best it can be. This is your organization and we are here to set the stage for the next 101 years.

Enjoy your Friday, your family, and this community you call home.

—Tim Gibbs, Ashland Alliance